6 Ways to Swap Out Plastic Wrap for Waste-Free Alternatives
When it comes to preserving food, we have been trained and accustomed to the easy and convenient notion of wrapping everything in plastic. It somehow feels safe, right? I mean, even luggage can be tightly bound in plastic before traveling in the cargo pit!
In my view, wrapping an edible product in plastic is akin to suffocating it and eliminating all chance of oxygen from reaching it. And just like us, food — real, from the earth whole food — is alive and also needs to breathe. Take a deep breath in now and feel into that sensation.
In most home kitchens, you’d probably find one of the smaller easy-to-reach drawers filled with plastic baggies, aluminum foil, and a roll of ubiquitous saran wrap. We were led to believe that plastic wrap would save us and our food. But dear friends, we were fooled by the industry yet again. Big Oil actually contributes to and profits from plastic production.
And with the spotlight on excess plastic waste right now, especially with our ever-growing desire for pre-packaged and takeout food, it's hard not to feel some level of eco-anxiety.
But fear not! Innovative solutions abound that are helping the environment and even prolonging the life of our foods – a win win for all!
You may be wondering what can we do on an individual level to swap out something as trivial as plastic wrap? Well first off, it's not trivial - these rolls add up to a massive amount of plastic over your lifetime.
And secondly, your power should not be understated. Small steps have the potential for huge outward ripples of change.
As consumers, we have immense power to vote with our dollar when it comes to smarter eco-friendly choices for our home and health. And that means considering safe, easy swaps to reduce plastic or investing in high quality and integrity products.
I've put together some ideas for easy swaps to help reduce your plastic footprint in the kitchen and keep food alive longer. Give one of them a try and see what happens! No need to commit, just start by experimenting.
1 // Be creative with your current dishware. If you have leftovers, simply use another plate, inverted, to cover your food in the fridge. Keep it in plain view so that you remember to enjoy it tomorrow and not let it get pushed deeper into the fridge abyss!
2 // Transfer food to an empty mason jar or glass container where you can easily view the contents. It’s fun to collect jars of all sizes for storing dry pantry items and spices, taking food on the go, or giving away culinary goodies.
3 // Keep a stash of cleaned out plastic food containers (from yogurt, salsas, dips, etc) that you don’t mind repurposing. If you’d like to send your dinner guests home with leftovers, you can reuse old containers instead of giving away your nicer ones. Remember, it’s about reusing and reducing first, then recycling.
4 // Invest in a sturdy stainless steel container, especially for sandwiches that you might normally wrap in plastic or place in a baggie, in order to avoid the squish. Oftentimes, these vessels are designed with built-in dividers for you to include other healthy lunchtime snacks.
5 // Try out beeswax wraps. They are literally made from nature, are reusable, biodegradeable and fit perfectly over bowls, plates, and around fresh or cut produce (think apples, lemons, avocados). You may know already that this is one of my favorite sustainable solutions for your kitchen and helps keep produce alive longer! A small investment equates to less food waste and less money spent on spoiled ingredients. I particularly love and support Abeego, a female-owned, B Corporation out of Canada that was the first to invent beeswax wraps over a decade ago.
6 // For bread or pastry doughs that need to rest, wrap them in a damp tea towel instead of smothering them in plastic. An ancient tradition I’m happy to see coming back!
Which of these ideas sounds doable to you?